Nicholas Kinar, MSc, PhD

I joined the College of the Rockies in 2022 and I am thankful to be here in a place where environment, culture and learning opportunities intersect. I’ve developed novel teaching activities merging electronics with environmental monitoring. I also formulate my own teaching materials, presentations, and labs including computer programs and student activities. I’ve participated in the Rockies Fest Open House, edited course outlines, implemented Universal Design in Learning initiatives, and contributed to teaching conferences. I am also involved in research related to environmental monitoring.

I completed BSc (Honours), MSc, and PhD degrees at the University of Saskatchewan, where I received numerous scholarships and awards including the Canadian Geophysical Union D. M. Gray Award and the American Geophysical Union Horton Research Grant. I stayed at the same university to complete all my degrees since I have a strong belief in the benefits of regional education. The areas of specialization with my MSc and PhD degrees were Hydrometeorology, Hydrology, and environmental sensors. I have a Marine Engineering certificate and postsecondary teaching certificate. I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an Editor for the Consilience and ConsiliARTe journals that explore the intersection between science and the arts. I’ve written many research papers on environmental electronics, remote sensing, signal processing, environmental models, and mathematics. The research that I’ve conducted involves heat pulse probes, snowpack and hydrological measurement sensors, and electronic circuits for teaching and learning. I am also a published poet and writer. For more than half a decade, I’ve challenged myself to share a Hydrology Paper of the Day on Twitter @KinarNicholas.

I construct all classroom materials myself, utilizing novel presentations, lab experiments and circuits in lieu of textbook-provided slides and activities. For in-class discussions, I utilize figures, tables, and text from actual research papers to show students how scientific knowledge is communicated. I also present multiple hypotheses from primary references, thereby showing students how knowledge evolves and continues evolving over time. I provide students with all classroom discussion slides in an electronic format so that during the class, students can collaborate in near-real time.

My teaching philosophy is based on constructivism. Students learn best by creating knowledge based on information and concepts. This involves a classroom experience driven by student questions, discussions, and a bi-directional sharing of knowledge. The students are also able to work with more open-ended assignments and lab activities. I do not consider a flipped classroom experience to be conducive to learning: the instructor acts as a guide for the learning experience. I indicate to my students that despite my college degrees, I am separated only by experience and not by our common humanity.